Mahogany L. Browne

Mahogany L. Browne an Executive Editor at The Offing, a Cave Canem, Poets House & Serenbe Focus fellow and author of several books including NAACP Image Award nominated Redbone. Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and Australia. Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada’s The Word and UK’s MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Manhattanville Review, Muzzle, Union Station Mag, Apogee, Literary Bohemian, Joint & The Feminist Wire. She’s a co-organizer of #BlackPoetsSpeakOut, founder of Women Writers of Color Reading Room (housed on Pratt Institute) & is an Urban Word NYC Poet-in-Residence (as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices). Mahogany earned her MFA degree from Pratt Institute (inaugural class) and serves on the Board of Trustees for Pratt Institute. Mahogany is currently co-editing Black Girl Magic (Haymarket, 2017), is the Poetry Program Director of the Nuyorican Poets Café and lives in Brooklyn, NY.




maternal advice

I. Now

ignore your lover’s name

his smile a smudge across everything before
him & you will only remember your grandmother
her words a flag of desperation and survival

— don’t love no man more than he love you



II. Then


so loud and brightppppstop

its like you challenging the world
its like the world knows
you ain’t never been worn against
nothing real



III. Soon

the clothes will wash themselves
and your hands will find the softest
folds of your body to break wet
atop the bedroom sheets each night

& then you will search for

women poets &
lovepppppppppif they find a romance that lasts
loveppppppppphow long romance lasts when you say it s l o w
lovepppppppppif they pose on book covers a glow fire of
“yes, i deserve this”ppkind of loveppp&

that suggests a b o d y
it is never too old to b e n d over a kitchen sink for some kind of lasting lust

or maybe
ppppppppppppthey are a l o n e pplike youpppp &pp just a selfish tide
ppppppppppppa forgotten breath until the page holds their name
ppppppppppppwith a lover’s attention maybe they too
pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppenjoy the taste of their own
pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppsalty fingers in the dark

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